Former US Vice President Mike Pence slammed his former boss, US President Donald Trump, for his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.
Pence made jokes about President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and several Republicans expected to run for president in 2024, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, during remarks at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner in Washington, DC on Saturday evening, March 11.
When it came to Trump, Pence took a more serious tone, rebuking Trump for his role in the January 6, 2021 attack, saying the former US president was “wrong” for claiming Pence had the authority to overturn the results of the 2020 election in his role presiding over Congress that day, and that “history will hold Donald Trump accountable.”
Pence called the Capitol attack “one thing I haven’t joked about,” and called January 6 “a tragic day.”
“President Trump was incorrect. “I had no right to overturn the election, and his reckless words put my family and everyone else at the Capitol that day in danger, and I know history will hold Donald Trump accountable,” Pence said.
Pence chastised those who dismissed the tourists who entered the Capitol on January 6.
“Tourism does not injure 140 police officers,” Pence said. “Tourists don’t break down doors or threaten public officials to get to the Speaker of the House.”
Pence chastised Republicans who downplayed the insurgency. His rebuke comes just days after Fox News host Tucker Carlson attempted to defend the mob by airing new security footage from inside the Capitol on January 6.
“Make no mistake about it, what happened that day was a disgrace, and portraying it any other way is a mockery of decency,” Pence said at the dinner.
Pence also stated that people “have a right to know what happened” during the insurgency, just days after requesting that a judge block a subpoena for his testimony to the special counsel investigating the insurgency.
“The American people have a right to know what happened at the Capitol on January 6, and I expect members of the fourth estate to keep doing their jobs,” Pence said at the dinner.
During his remarks at the dinner, which traditionally includes members of the Washington press corps among its attendees, Pence repeatedly praised the media’s coverage of the January 6 attack, and said he was able to carry out his role in certifying the election “in part” because of the media’s real-time coverage of the insurgency.
“We were able to stay at our post in part because you stayed at yours. Because you never stopped reporting, the American people know what happened that day,” Pence said.
“For what you do to preserve and strengthen this great democracy, you have my heartfelt thanks and I know the thanks of a grateful nation. “Thank you for all you do to protect liberty,” Pence continued.
“I will never, ever diminish the injuries sustained, the lives lost, or the heroism of law enforcement on that tragic day for the rest of my life,” Pence said.